Sletts Shawl L252 Re-imagined

As our yarn range grows and changes sometimes its fun to take a look back at one of our older patterns and try it in a newer range. This is what Sandra did recently with the catchily named ‘My Weekly Baby Knits Shawl L252’ – originally released in the 1980’s and designed by Gladys Amedro.

Originally knit in the Woollen Spun 2ply Lace Sandra remade this version in the undyed White shade of Shetland Supreme 2ply Lace – worsted spun and somewhat finer this has resulted in a very soft and drapey shawl.

I was surprised how modern and wearable it seemed when we were rephotographing it, it would still make a perfect Hap for a baby or a christening but wrapped around your neck and shoulders its lovely and quite stylish! The Shetland Supreme 2ply is quite lightweight but also substantial due to the two plys, the worsted yarn of course is fine for next to skin and I can imagine it would look lovely in all the natural 2ply Shades.

Construction wise the shawl is made as indicated by my quick drawing above – you initially knit the edging first, the stitches are all picked up and the four borders worked at the same time in the round. The centre is then knitted from one of these borders and knit whilst attaching to the other two sides and grafted onto the last border.

We decided to rename this pattern the Sletts Shawl, which is where we took the photographs, its a bay in the town and made the perfect backdrop for the shawl. We have also updated the pattern with charts and updated all the abbreviations to the modern ones, so you can see on the product page there are now two choices for the kit – one is the original patttern and knit in L1 Woollen Spun Lace and the new pattern which is both written and charted in the Shetland Supreme. We hope this means there is something for everyone depending on how you like your lace patterns!

We hope your enjoying your summer, we have been been having some nice summery weather in Shetland so long may it continue, Happy Knitting!

Shoormal Hap

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As soon as we saw the Shetland Heritage Naturals we all knew they would be perfect in a traditional Shetland Hap, Sandra quickly got to work and just in time for Wool Week the Shoormal Hap is the result!

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The Bestway K133 pattern booklet is full of inspiring Shetland patterns, (we have a photocopy of the pattern booklet for sale here) They are all written out longhand in very small writing but we were very inspired by the ‘Scalloped Shawl’ pattern, its a traditional Hap which you probably know has been everywhere lately. They have been made and worn in Shetland for centuries and we knew the nature of the Shetland Heritage Naturals would be ideal to recreate this pattern.

courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives.
courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives.

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We have used shades White, Fawn, Moorit and Shetland Black in the Shawl, Oliver has told us many times that the Heritage is very similar is weight to the old Hap weight of yarn, long since discontinued but the soft and strong properties of the Heritage yarn especially in the undyed colours harks back to this historical yarns. We have added charts for the border and edging sections of the pattern as well as keeping the written instructions so you can choose which to use.

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The construction of this Hap is that the centre is worked first followed by the four sides which are all worked individually and sewn onto the centre and each other, finally the edging is worked and sewn on. This makes it a great portable project as you are working each element separately before sewing it all together.

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The finished shawl is approximately 45 inches square making it very large, warm and cushy. It’s knit on relatively large needles for the yarn (4mm and 5mm) which creates a warm and lofty fabric, perfect for wrapping yourself up in, keeping on your couch or wrapping around a baby.

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If you would like to knit your own Shoormal Hap you can buy the kit here!

Happy Knitting!

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lambing time

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One of the nicest things about this time of year in Shetland (apart from lighter nights!) is the sight of Lambs. Lambing starts end of April and goes on throughout May, and all the photos in this post have been taken in the last few weeks.

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The Shetland is the smallest of the British breeds and is believed to be of Scandinavian origin. It retains many of the characteristics of wild sheep such as natural hardiness, longevity and an ability to thrive on a low level of food intake from our heather clad hills and peat moors.

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Shetland Sheep are naturally good mothers, they require little assistance when giving birth and easily lamb by themselves. You can see from the photos that the mothers fairly keep an eye on you when your near their babies! Hill sheep in Shetland average 25 kilos and the new born lambs birth weight can is ususally 1 to 2 kilos and sizewise not much larger as a cat.

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Ewes that lamb on the hill usually give birth at dusk or dawn,  this is natural instinct to lamb in semi-darkness to avoid predators such as the Bonxie and Ravens. By lambing at night this timing gives the lambs a chance to get to their feet. Lambs become quite independent after a week or two and start to graze and chew the cud.

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At this time of year Shetland hills echo with the loud bleating of straying lambs followed by the answering call of its mother.

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If you would like to make your own Peerie Shetland Lamb you might like our newest kit! The Peerie Sheep, this was designed by Sandra Manson who works at J&S and was inspired by all the lambs in Shetland at spring time.

til next time, happy knitting!

Photos by Jan Robertson and Ella Gordon

The First Minister of Scotland and the First Minister of Shetland Wool

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We are proud to represent one of Shetlands traditional industries, this means occasionally we get some unusual visitors to our shop, yesterday this was the case when we got a visit from the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon!

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For our international readers the First Minister is Scotland’s head of government, Nicola Sturgeon is also the leader of the SNP party so she was in Shetland on the Campaign trail for the upcoming election. Its always important to show these kinds of visitors what we do here at J&S and the effort we make to sustain the Shetland Wool Clip, we can feel a bit isolated sometimes from the effects of Mainland Politics but Nicola was very interested to see the kinds of things we make up here.

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Of course Oliver gave her a tour of the Woolstore and Showroom as well as the Shop, we forget as we are here everyday but the first time you come in the shop and see the walls full of Shetland wool it really is like a sweetie shop! As always we felt proud of what we do here at J&S and no matter your political views it was exciting to have a visit from our First Minister.

All photos here by Scott Goudie, our resident photographer (oh and he works in the wool store)

Natalia’s Yoke

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Today we have an exciting new pattern to share, we often get asked about childs yoke cardigan patterns, much like our adult Hairst Yoke. This is one of the many kinds of patterns Shetlanders pass down generation to generation which makes it difficult to find a traditional pattern to make, but now Sandra has designed one for us!

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The cardigan is called the Natalia Yoke, named after our very cute model and Kharis’ niece. It is knit using 2ply Jumper Weight and comes in sizes 22 inches up to 28″. It is knit traditionally in the round with a steek but it also includes instructions for if you wanted to knit it flat, the relatively small size makes it a great first steeking project, and as there are only 3 different contrast shades a great first Fair Isle project too.

If you would like to order the kit for the Natalia yoke you can do so on our website here!

happy knitting!

peoples friend shawl

It was back in 1968 the Jamieson & Smith introduced knitting yarns to help add value to the Shetland Island clip, as mentioned in the last post the wool was graded and sorted by hand into its various quality’s before being sent away to be spun into whichever yarn we specified. Nearly 50 years later we still do the same.

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Knitting in Shetland has been one of our main industries throughout the centuries* and we are lucky to have patterns passed down throughout peoples families but for those out with Shetland it was tricky to access these traditional patterns. Sandra Manson who works at J&S has been knitting since she was a child, the skill’s passed down to her from her Granny and Auntie.

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Sandra is always on the lookout for vintage patterns and one she has recently reknit in our Shetland Heritage range is a Hap taken from the Traditional Shawls and Scarves book (which we have on our shop here) Some of these vintage patterns need a bit of work so Sandra has made a few changes to hopefully make it easier to knit and you can find the pattern in this weeks edition of The Peoples Friend.

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Almost since we started doing yarns in the late 60’s we have had patterns in various magazines, before the days of Ravelry, Facebook and Twitter that was the main way we could reach our customers all over the world and for many people without access to the internet it is still a way for them to hear about Jamieson & Smith Yarns.

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If you don’t have access to the Peoples Friend Magazine we will be releasing the kit ourselves in the upcoming months, but for this week it can be found in there. Happy Knitting!

*If you are interested there is a day all about Shetland Knitting being hosted at the Shetland Museum and Archives this Saturday (March 5th 2016) and it can be viewed on-line, for more information see here

New Patterns for the Shetland Lambing Season 2013

The Shetland lambing season is in full swing at the moment so there are thousands of little lambs running around the somewhat chilly countryside just now. At home on my own croft we stared lambing 2 weeks ago tomorrow and almost all our breeding ewes have lambed already, so it has been a busy couple of weeks! To celebrate the coming of the next generation of wool providers, we at J&S are releasing 3 new woolly patterns dedicated to them.

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All these patterns have been designed by Sandra Manson, our knitter-designer extraordinaire here at J&S.  They are fun little knits perfect for this time of year as you grab any knitting time you can in between all the little jobs that spring brings. They all use loop stitch and garter stitch and are good projects for a beginner or should only take a few days for the more experienced knitter to make.

Monster Muff

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The Monster Muff came to Sandra around Halloween last year, inspired by the spooky holiday and a desire to create a nice little phone protector. Although it sounds scary it actually turned out quite cute with its pom-pom nose and button eyes. It was designed as a phone protector but can easily be adapted into a little bag, perfect for children, through simply adding on a strap made from leftover yarn. My mam tried this out for my niece; she loves it and has been taking it everywhere and putting all her things in it. 

You can find the Monster Muff here and can choose any shade you want to make it in here.

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Monster Mitts

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The Monster Mitts developed from the Monster Muff as we noticed how cosy this type of knitting is and how amazing looking a pair of gloves made in it would be! At first they just look like a rather woolly pair of gloves until you see the flap on the cuff which makes it look like a little monster has eaten your hand. They’re great fun and also a pleasure to knit.

You can find the Monster Mitts here and can choose any shade you want to make it in here.

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Sheep Cushion

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The Sheep Cushion is personally one of my favourite patterns that we’ve ever released! It was the idea of Derek Goudie, one of the ‘wool men’ here at J&S and was developed into this unique cushion by Sandra. Its loop-stitch body emphasises the warm, woolly nature of our Shetland Aran yarn and the garter stitch head, body and legs gives it a beautiful finish. It is also stuffed with our wool cushion filling, a perfect – and eco-friendly – way to finish off this little Shetland Sheep.

We purposefully simply called the pattern ‘Sheep Cushion’ so that you can name your own one anything you wish. As with all our other patterns we would love to see pictures of them when you’ve finished, as well as hearing what you’ve named your own little sheep and where they are living now. My mam is currently working on one now in very special colours which I think we’re going to call Jeemie Smith. More to come soon…

You can find the Sheep Cushion here and can choose any shades you want to make it in here.

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For most crofters the Shetland lambing season begins a few months later than mainland Britain, at the end of April or start of May, when the weather has hopefully calmed down and is warm enough for the newborn lambs. This includes a mix of breeds including Suffolk, Cheviot, Texel and of course Shetland. Some yarns that claim to be Shetland wool are a mixture of breeds such as these, meaning you don’t get the quality of Real Shetland Wool yarns. Most of the wool from Shetland’s sheep comes in to us here at J&S where it is hand graded and sorted to make sure only the best Real Shetland Wool is made into our yarns, making sure they are soft, bouncy and beautiful to handle.

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